Jameis Winston is still the “starting quarterback” for the Buccaneers, but they know he’s going to miss the first three games of the regular season because of his suspension.
So when he took the field Thursday night against the Dolphins, he was out there with a bunch of second- and third-stringers. He played well, completing 11-of-13 passes for 102 yards.
“I was happy to play football,” Winston said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “Like I said, it was a privilege. I’ve been working with everybody this training camp so that prepared me.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick started the game, as he will the first three of the regular season, and third quarterback Ryan Griffin finished the game with a late drive which led to a game-winning field goal.
The three of them combined to go 37-of-47 for 336 yards and a touchdown, with a 103.5 passer rating in the first game with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken calling the plays.
“Start with that,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “I mean, Ryan Griffin I thought was outstanding. Twenty out of 26 and playing with the third group primarily. I thought Ryan did a really good job. But I also thought Fitz and Jameis did fine. They took us right down and scored, both guys. From a quarterback standpoint, I don’t think we missed too many. We didn’t turn it over at quarterback, so pleased with all three of those guys.”
Fitzpatrick completed his first six passes of the night, the kind of early sharpness he’ll need to carry into the regular season for the Bucs to survive.